Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Boogeyman

The Boogeyman.
Public Speaking.
Getting Old.
Being Talked About.
Not Being Talked About.
Being Too Much.
Not Being Enough.

This list could go on and on because the one thing that seems to be limitless in life is fear. Fear takes on many shapes: anxiety, worry, stress, over-analysis, insecurity, and yet it is unlike any other shape in that it leaves a void, never actually ever filling a legitimate need or desire or curiosity.

I have never considered myself a fearful person. When there were nasty insects invading our college dorm, my roommates would ask me to go kill them. If a loved one left on a trip, I’d wish them well and ask for a souvenir upon their return. Paper due in less than an hour? No problem, it’d get done somehow. Shady character down the street? He’s probably just misunderstood.

So, imagine my surprise when the Lord revealed to me the other day that I was a woman who not only had fears, but I was one who allowed her fears to rule her daily decisions. You see, there were certain things that had become so part of the fabric of my thinking, that I merely assumed they were natural reactions to circumstances. It was natural to assume that if my boss was asking in depth questions about my work it was because I was about to be fired. Duh. Oh, I’m feeling slightly different today than yesterday? Then I probably just contracted some fatal disease---obviously. If someone I liked looked the other way, or stepped out of our conversation, it was most likely because they finally discovered that I truly am an ogre. You see, completely rational thinking. No fears whatsoever. Stress meant I was working hard; worry meant I cared deeply; insecurity was merely a way of keeping a check on my pride.

Little did I know how insane my behavior had become. My emotions had become a roller coaster—I could be confident and filled with optimism before noon, only to crash at lunch when I realized I failed to schedule a meeting. Then the failure was quickly forgotten as I got the text to join my friends for dinner, but soon resurfaced as 3 important people I was hoping to see didn’t come out to eat. My smiles began to feel forced, my mouth only opened to pour out complaints and frustration. Who am I? Does anyone else feel as unstable as I do right now?

Then came Sunday’s Bible reading: Mark 4-5. It both comforted and rebuked me. In these two gospel chapters…in only 42 short verses, Jesus showed me four different times how prone the human spirit is towards fear. Four Times. That’s crazy… or is it? So I took some time to listen to what these stories had to tell me, and I found that all different kinds of fear similarly centered around God’s abundance of power and man’s lack of control.

1. The fear of a lack of safety. A lack of being unseen, uncared for, and left to our own devices. You can see it in chapter 4 verses 37-41. Here’s what I noticed:

The problem: The disciples were in legitimate danger; a storm was raging, the ship was taking on a ton of water, and they were working hard to stay afloat. It’s dark, it’s wild, and it’s freaking out seasoned fisherman.
The reality: They were in the boat because of Jesus’s word (verse 35). Jesus was in the boat. JESUS. You know, God? And He had stated that they were going to cross to the other side that night.
The irrationality of fear: God was wrong. God doesn’t know we’re all going to drown. In fact, God is going to drown.
The ending: Jesus yawns, stands up, tells the storm to be quiet and it immediately stills. Then He turns to the dripping wet disciples and asks, “Why all the fuss?” (my own translation) Well, when you put it that way…

2. A fear of the good. The fear of being more scared of leaving the known, as frightening as it is, for the unknown, as potentially stunning it may be. Here it is in chapter 5, verse 15.

The problem: There was a demoniac running around town. Bleeding, screaming, trailing broken chains and living among tombstones. This is what the villagers were used to. Then Jesus comes to visit, and suddenly this childhood nightmare is placid, intelligent, and peaceful. NOW the town is freaked out.
The reality: Jesus loved. He saw the person; he rescued the captive. The townspeople just witnessed the freeing of a man, a friend, one of their own from the evil torment of the devil. They saw sanity, goodness and life exuding from what had once been the most infamous terror in the countryside. Jesus was at peace, the disciples were quiet, the tormented was at rest for the first time.
The irrationality of fear: This calm can’t be good. What is this silence? Where are the enraged shrieks? The howling of pain? He looks… normal. Healthy. Happy. And that is scary, so Jesus must be bad. Power that can alter chaos into calm that quickly cannot, must not, be trusted.
The ending: Jesus heeds their demands that He leaves. When we clamor for the negative because we fear what He might do in order to restore good, He doesn’t push it on us. And THAT should be what scare us.

3. The fear of death, of loss. Of Jesus being too late to make a difference. This shows up with Jairus and his daughter in chapter 5: 35-36:

The problem: Jairus’s little girl is sick. In fact, she’s on her deathbed. He comes rushing towards Christ to ask for a miracle. Hope pushing out of the soil of fear. Here’s the thing though, as Jesus is on His way to Jairus’s aid, He stops to heal someone else and talk with her. Doesn’t He realize time is of the essence??
The reality: Jesus knew His strength did not lay in the timing of events. He knew death could not defeat His will. He recognized faith in a broken woman, and He was gracious enough to tend to her, as He was moving towards His resurrection plan at the house of Jairus. But all Jairus could hear was that he was too late; his daughter had just breathed her last.
The irrationality of fear: Death- what can stop death? It’s too powerful, too large, too FINAL for anyone to change. God can hear, God can heal, God can prevent, but God cannot bring to life. The Creator is unable to restore breath.
The ending: Jesus, in His sweet manner, cuts off the fearful thoughts before Jairus has time to utter them out loud. “Don’t fear; just trust.” And Jairus and his wife were first hand witnesses to the bringing back of their little girl from her grave. They were on hand to testify that here is One Who will not be defeated, even when the clock has run out and the buzzer has sounded.

4. The fear of the monotony. Being afraid that life will never look any different; that this is the role you were forced to play. So I skipped this one, because this one ends up showing evidence of the GOOD kind of fear. You see, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”, and this woman, the one found in verses 25-34, embraced this type of fear. Look at this:

The problem: Twelve years of intense suffering. 4,380 days of pain, humiliation and financial stress. This woman had been bleeding for this long, and this disease not only hampered her health, but cut her off from society (refer back to the Levitical laws of when a woman bled). She had nothing to hope for any longer because every medical resource had failed. Her days stretched on and on, looking exactly the same. Yet, she allowed hope to draw her near to Jesus. Perhaps, just perhaps He could undo the painful reality of her daily existence.
The reality: One touch of Christ’s hem changed everything. More than a decade of disappointment and despair was wiped away in an instant. Jesus already knew she sought His healing; He already understood that His kingdom power would be bestowed upon her battered body and hopeful spirit. Note that He recognized the touch of faith. Observe that He looked around for her.
The rationality of fear: Now here is where the cool part of fear comes in. He asked for her to show herself, and she came, fearing and trembling because she knew what had been done in her. She trembled with the knowledge that she was about to stand before pure grace, undiminished power and overwhelming love. Her fear drove her to Him, because He was the wonder of her soul.
The ending: This woman walked away from that crowd with God’s praise in her ears and God’s wholeness in her body. She entered society again complete and renewed. Jesus turned towards Jairus’s house with a lighter step in the joy that His Father’s kingdom was at work. And Jairus could well dare to hope in the words he heard in the midst of death, “Don’t be afraid; only believe.”

So after these stories, I look back at my original list and I fear that I have been afraid of the small stuff. You see, trying to control life makes my circumstances seem large because I hold them in front of my face and block my Father’s. But, if (and when) I choose to look into the heart of the One Who calms storms, rescues men, raises the dead and heals the bloody, then all of a sudden I rest, knowing that my moments, my relationships, my dreams, and my situations are completely surrounded in the powerful hand of a good, good God.

I won’t be perfect in this pursuit to let go of fear and to instead trust in the control of my Savior; however, I will be relentless in changing my natural inclinations of stress, anxiety and pessimism to ones that require surrender—a resting surrender to the limitless power of Him who desires gospel life for me. To do otherwise would indeed be crazy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I am listening to this Misty Edwards' song: "Finally I surrender".

"All I want is-- You to have Your way
You are the Potter, I am the clay.
All I need is-- You to have Your Way
You are Creator & I am what You've made."

So beautiful. This is so the cry of my heart tonight. The best thing, the greatest thing that I could cry out for day and night is for the Will of the Most High to be accomplished. It is the lifting of my head to know that I am HIS. He has not failed me, nor flawed me, nor forgotten me. I am walking in His perfect will-- even now-- even in the darkness of secrecy. I don't know what tomorrow holds-- I am not assured that my dreams will unfold as I see them-- and YET THIS-- I am HIS. I am His beloved and He cannot harm me. Behold how good is His heart and how pure are His paths! Rejoice, o my soul, in this. See-- His wind blows heavily all around you to assure it is so. He has reduced you to weeping over His incredible tenderness. Dare you let the words of others, the advice from friends, or the bleak circumstances sway you from this unparalleled vision? Don't stray! He is your Life. He is the One whose Truth defines all other realities.

Stand firm that, after all this, you may be able to still stand.

"Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." Proverbs 4:23.

Just 4 More Seconds...

It was a slightly overcast, cool summer morning as I treaded water, waiting for the last assignment I'd have to pass to prove I was officially capable to go in the deep end on my own. Craig, the lifeguard who had trained me for weeks, let me know that all I had left was to hold my breath under water for a full minute, and then I'd be a certified swimmer. I was pumped. Let's do this!

I go under, thinking about how great it's going to be when I can swim out to the far dock by myself. My body is barely under the surface (I had always had a hard time with negating buoyancy), but I knew I was golden as long as my face stayed in the lake. Time passes rather slowly staring into murky darkness, and so it wasn't long afterward that my excitement started to turn into curiosity as to how much time was left. I waited, still holding my breath. Then, of course, curiosity flipped slowly over into fear, and fear quickly turned straight to panic. I can't do this! Who ever thought I could! Craig has forgotten about me-- He stopped watching the clock-- I've been under here FOREVER. I'm... I'mm....I'M DROWNING!!!!!!!!

My head breaks the surface of the water and I inhale the air deeply. I look up to see Craig, fully expecting him to lift my arms in a victory pump and to hear him apologize for forgetting the time, but instead he just seemed sorrowful. "oh, Leah," he sighed. "You only had 4 more seconds to go."

WHAT?! What do you mean? Does this mean I don't pass? There's no way you mean that. Just 4 more seconds? Come ON!? Why wasn't there any indication as to how close I was to the end of my suffering? Didn't you even think to give me an encouraging countdown underwater so I would know to hold out a little longer? Why couldn't you let me know that success was almost in my water-pruned hands?

Disappointed, I listened to Craig tell me that he'd have to reschedule my swim test for the following Saturday. 7 more days I'd have to wait in the shallow end until I could prove I was ready for deeper waters. I was crushed.

The following week, I impatiently swam my way through all the drills until it was time to go underwater again. This time I was going to make it. No way was I going to fall privy to the cries of sweet air. I waited for Craig to tell me that I needed to stay underwater for a full minute, waited until I saw him hold up the timer, and then, I was under.

Total confidence brimmed like oxygen in my body. Failure wasn't even on the horizon today. I KNEW I was able to pass-- just last week I had conquered 56 seconds on my first attempt. But (and you know the story), the lake stayed around my face, not planning on going anywhere except IN me. The water jostled to enter into my nose and mouth like elbows pushing their way through thick hallway crowds. I began to run out of air, and then the fear of not being able to breathe started to mock my confidence. Immediately I thought of pulling up for air. Passing a swimming test is not worth dying for, right? Who cares about what the other kids say? Who even cares about proving it to myself? I almost had myself convinced that the wait didn't add up to the supposed reward, but, just at that crucial moment, these words surfaced in my memory-- "you only have 4 more seconds to go". 4 seconds? I can do four more seconds...,and so I counted 4..3..2..1. But-- no tap on the shoulder to announce the torture was over. Okay, 4 more seconds. I can do just 4 more seconds: 4...3...2...1. Still underwater. I was in my 3rd round of counting down "4 more seconds", when I felt the triumphant tap on my shoulder. I DID IT!!! I had fought my fears, conquered my panic, and passed the test!

It's funny how the Lord brought this experience into my mind recently to teach me something incredibly powerful about His beautiful timing. These past few weeks I have been dealing with some difficult demons-- dark waters pressing in which threaten to cut off my air supply. Often, I feel trapped, my chest tightened, and the normal, natural act of breathing becomes this heroic feat that I struggle to even attempt.

Life is hard, and time can go very slowly during the difficult seasons. How often I jump into my day enthusiastically, only to soon find my questions rising and my hope sinking. Doubts crowd my head and I start to wonder about the God Who holds my timer. Has He forgotten? Surely He's stopped looking. Perhaps I need to thrash more-- wait, that's not working? Then I need to just come up out of the test, and let Him know that I've passed it when He wasn't paying attention. But, every time I do that, every time I think enough time has passed , I pop out of the struggle early to bask in Christ's enthusiastic congratulations, only to find His sorrow filled voice saying, "Oh, Leah... You only had 4 more seconds."

Disappointment comes when we find ourselves facing the same tests over and over. Patterns of enthusiasm, confidence, questions, fear, then panic show up over and over again in our lives, and we turn to blame the One who is watching us struggle. But, you see-- It's not about the silence when the waves are over our heads... It's not about the fact that He who knows has given us no indication of how close we are to the finish. It matters not how much our lungs are burning, or how anxious our thoughts. It only matters that we stay in it until the time has been completed.

Oh beloved, remind yourself of this: He is ever watching, and is NEVER LATE. He longs to place the victor's crown upon your head and enable you to venture out into deeper waters with Him. Don't let your impatience rob you of that which is at your doorstep! Don't let the panic of tomorrow's fears or the stifling of today's dark circumstances cause you to mistrust your Lifeguard's hand. He holds your every moment, and He is a good steward of what He owns. Repeat to yourself His words to you-- Life is but a vapor; how quickly it fades! or Take no thought about tomorrow; tomorrow has enough to take care of its own or See? I have inscribed you in the palm of My hands! Faithful is He who began a good work in you-- He will complete it!!

You can handle the next 4 seconds-- it will be far worth the freedom that awaits you when you surface as a victor.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


I know I haven't posted much this week, but that's simply because I've been in the house most days, canvassing jobs on the computer, catching up on some reading, having no place to go and no money to get there.   While I've had all this time on my hands, there have been a few things I've realized about life. 
We just get stuck in our habits.  I mean, I have had the same amount of time each day to spend however I please, and I find myself doing the exact same things:  sleeping in, reading a book, browsing the internet, talking to friends, applying for jobs, making meals, watching a movie, going to bed.  My days were filled, my checklists were being completed, and yet, I felt as if I was making no progress at all.

That's when I decided to change my life up.  What if I didn't sleep in just because I had no place to be or because it would help waste a little more of my already elongated day?  What if instead I spent more time praying for people and reading my Bible?

And what if I didn't just sit on the computer browsing for hours looking for jobs, but rather applied to the few I was really interested in, spent time developing a better resume, and then leave the results to God?

And about those books-- why don't I pick up that giant epic that I've been meaning to read for the past 18 months and actually begin it?  What's stopping me?

When I'm tired of reading, instead of popping in a movie, why don't I sit down and hand write a few letters to people to let them know just how much I've been thinking about them?

When I need some type of entertainment, why not put in my Portuguese language cd and challenge my mind to a different way of viewing the world?

And instead of heating up a frozen pizza, or cooking another bowl of spaghetti, why not experiment in the kitchen and develop a new taste for food?

So, I began to move in my frozen sphere of time.  I began to operate as if I was already becoming the person I wanted to be, instead of staying the person I was longing to change.

And you know what I found?

I found a God more faithful than my next heartbeat and more tender than a soft breeze.  I discovered that praying to Him was not some futile, godly exercise but this most intimate gesture of love between the earthly and the divine in which I could participate.  I learned that when you go to battle in the spiritual realms, the battle is never over, but there are reservoirs of strength you could have never imagined set aside to help you continue.  That although there are a lot more needs than you could have ever fathomed encountering, there is a grace that paradoxically draws you deeper with each new wound.  I glimpsed a bit more of Jesus each morning and those brief moments stole my breath away.

I found that the computer did not have to dictate my moods-- whether I was accepted or rejected or emailed or messaged.  I perceived that the quality of offers oftentimes outweighed the value of those with more positions or hours.  I recognized that no matter how much time I've spent polishing something, such as my resume, there was still always improvement that could be done.  I learned that seeking God for the outcome of my applications instead of wearing out the inbox button of my email was far more productive and incredibly less stressful.

I found that the way through a giant epic resembled the way to complete a long journey--take it one page at a time.  I began to sense that those inspired to write epics were most likely the ones able to motivate me in uncovering mine.

I found that being still and actively reflecting on my life makes what I have to say far more interesting.  I discovered that something magical still resides in a postage stamp and the seal of an envelope.  That the way my hand uncurls ink is intensely more revealing no matter how personal the typed content of past emails.   I began to treasure anew the relationships I have, recognizing that sometimes the best way to show people my love is to spend  44 cents on them.

I found that expanding my horizons can be as close as the dimensions of my mind.  I developed a glow in finally nailing the correct pronunciation of a phrase in a language formerly foreign to my tongue.  A beauty was uncovered as I peeled back egg, and under, and jump only to discover they were cloaking such words as ovo, embaixo, and pulando.  I discovered a camaraderie with those whom I had never met and a commonality with those who went to sleep under a different sky than mine.

I found that taste can be developed and the arrangement of food can enhance its flavor.  I detected comfort in the warmth of a muffin and exhilaration in the chill of a smoothie.  I rediscovered the original Garden in an unknown fruit, yet relived the bitterness of the Fall when my teeth sank into its bruise.  I found that the quickest way to warm a cold house was to make a batch of cookies, and if you find yourself deficient in nearby loved ones, cupping your hands around a steaming mug of frothy chai almost distracts from the pain.

I understand now that Purgatory is a place we allow ourselves to remain.  A place where we unconsciously stay in the wheel ruts of yesterday.  I realize that being rich in time can rob you of yourself if you do not invest its wealth in growing.  I have begun to discover that life happens when you are planted, stuffed in the soil, and ready to receive what is availing itself to you.  But be willing to break forth from the seed... the only other option is to wither and fade.

*Wheels of Fury*

(FYI:  this was supposed to have been posted on Sunday)

Today I became an official cyclist!  For weeks I have been shelling out money to the bus lords every time I needed to go anyplace, but today their cruel, cruel reign has been bypassed by one purple bike called the Professor.  Professor Plum.
My roommate's boyfriend (Rick) gave me an old bike he had in storage.  This large, thoughtful gift has opened up a world of freedom, when I took it on its maiden voyage.
Before embarking, I spent careful time planning which train station I would ride to, in order to further get to the city.  Google informed me that most of the Max stations near me were about 2 miles away, a bicycling distance of a mere 15 minutes. I was pumped.  I checked the train schedules, confirmed meet up times with my friends, and finally calculated the minutes I would need to then further bike to church.  All these added up to a departure time of 9:30 am.  Lastly, I checked the weather forecast. This weekend has been beautiful, clear and 80s; I knew this was the right time to bike. 
Surprise!  Rain and high 60s.  Rain?  After I did all this work?   Ugh.  Fortunately, thoughts of being a true Portlander, who bikes, even in the rain, stiffened my resolve.  Too bad Mr. Dark cloud, I'm going to go anyway.

Thus, it was raining this morning when I got up.  Raining when I had breakfast, raining when I pulled out my bike.  I kept praying that it would stop-- at least for the 15 minutes I had to bike-- but it looked like God had other plans.  So off I went. 

I got to the top of my first hill and as I was shifting, my chain slipped off.  Was this another sign?  I was tempted to just turn around and call it quits, grab my money and head for the bus, but then my pride took a hold of me.  Just fix the chain yourself, you big baby.   Thus chastised, I bent down to put the chain back on and it worked... it actually worked!  and incredibly, as I went, the rain stopped.  

Now I was feeling freedom AND empowerment.  I pedaled and panted and plowed my way to the station.  I crossed streets, climbed hills, and raced vehicles.  It was pretty exhilarating... yet slightly wet.  (The back of my jeans took about 3 hours to fully dry).  But I had arrived at the train station a whole 10 minutes early!  I got into the city, biked to Pete and Kim's house, and then we all headed off to church via bike. 

We went from the NW section of Portland, through downtown, across the bridge, around the detours and police blockades, and arrived in the SE section of Portland (around another 2 miles).  The rain had started up again as we were nearing Imago Dei, but we had reached our destination.  After locking up our bikes, we discarded a few layers of clothing (whod've thought exercise would warm one up so much?), and headed in for the service, which was amazing. 

Then we did the entire trip back again (my thighs were abandoning me at this point), and headed to watch the Eagles kick the Jaguars' butts.  All in all, a satisfying day.

One last bike ride to the train, then another 2 miles home.  I thought I'd be so ready for bed, but I think I might be up for another road trip instead...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Just Wait.

I was made for one man. I know this as surely as I know my own name, and yet, there seems to be a divine barrier between me and the man who is to be my husband. I feel "shut up" from the world of men, in the way that Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth's wombs were shut up by the Lord. I find myself pleading before the Lord to make me fruitful in this barren place in my life, yet the heavens remain silent.

There are so many things that have been going on in my head. Patience, for sure, is one of them. Learning to wait and be still; to be hidden and unknown has been extremely difficult for me. I so long to be known fully! My desire is to learn intimacy with another and to grow in learning. The frustrating thing for me is that I cannot just go out and learn this...I am hindered by another, by a man I am not even sure I know yet. Why is he hidden? When will he come to meet me?

Fear keeps me from being vulnerable. I mean, God is soooo good to me, and daily He drowns me in his favor and love, and yet I still get so destroyed by this small (yet unchartable) area of my life. There are large places where I feel inadequate, unacceptable, and disinteresting.

It has always seemed to me as though I do follow in my biblical namesake's footsteps, Leah, the unlovely. Some days it still seems as though my verse in the Scripture would be, "Leah, whom the Lord has cut off from love..." Yet, I know I have grown older since those fearful days, and my faith dares to shout against this epitaph, and to declare the glory of the Lord in my barrenness. He has not forgotten me, though long are the days before His fulfillment! I will rejoice in His bounty because I know my appointed time is still to come.

And that's the thing. Everyone who waited in Scripture, every single one,
was granted this incredible story.
--Abraham receives Isaac through miraculous means, and not through Abraham's control or wisdom.
--Isaac receives Rebekah through an answer to a servant's prayer, and through them Israel is born.
--Joseph's dreams of his childhood were mocked as he is sold into slavery, thrown into jail, and forgotten by his fellow prison mates, yet he remains faithful, and is brought into a place of great wisdom, honor, and power in the end.
--The children of Israel, long in bondage, are miraculously rescued out of Egypt, by Moses, who has just spent 40 years hiding in a desert shepherding.
--Manoah and his wife are childless until God steps in and gives them Samson, Israel's greatest judge.
--David waits decades after his kingly annointing, hiding in caves, fearing for his life, losing his best friend before he can ascend the throne.
--Zechariah and Elizabeth spend their entire married life hoping for a child, until they pass the age of bearing, only to be blessed with being able to birth John, the forerunner to the Messiah.
--Jesus Himself spends 30 years in obscurity before His brief ministry and eternal plan of redemption is realized. Even now He waits until the Father declares it time to receive His full inheritance.

There is one whom I believe is well suited for me, and yet how does that even play out? I believe God wants me to be actively involved in my life, but then He wants to show me that He is the one who is in control; to prove that His way is sooo much better, ultimately so much higher and purer and more brilliant.

Do I really think that I can out think God?? That I am more creative, more inventive, more savvy in my planning and imagination? Boy, will He shatter those illusions with much grace and favor! How undeserving I am! How great and magnificent He is! May I never be tired of seeing His hand work in my life, even when I think that doors have been bolted and shut. He loves to work in the midnight hour! He accomplished His will in His timing, through their faith, in the men and women of Scripture. Oh why do I think He is tardy in my life? Why do I find His promises dusty? He is moving heaven and earth to weave the perfect tapestry in my life; full of his grace and His truth, and His love. Wait o my soul; those who waited had not only their lives changed, but the lives of the world around them for generations to come. The barren who conceived birthed prophets, patriarchs, judges, priests and the Messiah! How much greater their reward for their patience and hope during the darkness?

Oh my Father, make my life so much more than I could ever dream up, or hope for. Prove to me over and over again that You are good, that Your hand is not too short to save, that You do fulfill Your Word, that Your memory is not lacking, that You do own the cattle on a thousand hills, that Your plans do not waver, Your mind does not change as a man’s, that Your faithfulness is more consistent than the rising of the sun. Continue to teach me that You know I’m weak and frail, and Your Word is always followed by signs that are sent to bless us and teach us how trustworthy You are. Attune my ears to Your word; I want to hear Your direction in my life; I long to recognize Your hand, and Your instructions for me. Keep me ever closer to You. You are my life; You are my song and my day.

I am in love with a God who is nothing but good, and perfect, and sovereign. He has not forgotten me, nor could He ever. I am more precious to Him than I could ever fully come to know, and whatEVER He has for me is pure incredible grace. Learning these things about Him has done more for my soul than anything I could have hoped for. He used Scripture from Colossians, I Samuel, Hebrews, Daniel, Matthew, etc. Anywhere and everywhere from His lovely, rich word He was reminding me of His plans for me. And even though I still don’t know what they entail, or when they are coming to fruition, I know this: it is beyond my wildest and best dreams and imaginations. He is not bound by my resources, or my inventions, or even my hopes and prayers. He is so greater than those things, and that alone astounds me!

May this stand as a testimony of His favor before His favor in this has appeared!

Friday, July 6, 2012


Daniel saw Jesus!!!!!!!
My two favorite men in one place.
(Daniel 7:13-14).

"I saw in the night visions, and,


one like the Son of man
came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him;

his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."

Friday, June 22, 2012

30 Day Challenge

"...we have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of THEE, o king, he shall be cast into the den of lions." Daniel 6:7

This was part of my reading today, and I got stuck here. Normally I've camped in verse 4, which states that the men looking to destroy Daniel, "could find no fault or error in him as he was faithful.": Today, however, I'm stuck on this idea in verse 7 of not asking a petition of any God or man for 30 days... I never thought about this, but these men just limited themselves for a month in their attempts to trap Daniel in serving his God. I mean, they too, could ask nothing of anyone except King Darius. Was that difficult, I wondered? I started thinking, What would it look like if I didn't ask a petition from anybody except the True King, for the next thirty days? What would my life look like? How would it be different?

To tell the truth, I'm not much of an asker. I actually don't like seeking help very often because my stubborn German blood demands me to be independent and figure out a solution on my own. Yet, still, if I think about it, there are a ton of normal things that I ask people for: a ride, help moving some furniture, a few bucks to borrow, notice on any activities going on, etc, etc. What if, I paid attention to my speech and I turned away from asking anything of another person for the next month? Nobody. Nothing. If I needed practical help, I would go to God, and see how He will bring an answer to being. If I wanted to process something with another, I would pray that the Lord would send someone my way to open up that conversation. Jesus would become my focus, my mainstay, my confidante in everything. Needs wouldn't be negated, it's just that my reliance would be shifted to heaven and not to earth. So, exactly what would that look like??

In thinking about this idea, George Mueller popped into my head. Apart from Abraham and Daniel, I think George Mueller has had the most profound influence on my spiritual desires. How often I long to live a life of faith and faithfulness as these three have! Mueller's life was filled with needs, and yet he desired that his requests would come only to God, so that the answers would be seen as only God's. It floors me to see how much honor God has in each of their lives as He is seen working and moving through their obedient testimonies. If I took on this challenge, think about the increased intimacy that I would have with my Christ.

Of course, this limiting myself of "natural" help will certainly be a challenge... but if wicked men in Persia could do it for an earthly sovereign, how much more could I turn from others in order to seek help from a King who calls me His own? ("but seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." Mt. 6:33)

So, who in the kingdom is interested in joining me on this venture?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Easy, Killer, Slow down...

What is it about Patience that throws me completely off track? Here I am, moving at a good pace, seeing life travel the way it should, stepping on the gas when it isn't, and then Patience rears her sweet little head, and forgets to add more rails to the line of my destination. I have been derailed for a while (since early February, actually), and it has been for a specific purpose. To learn to love Patience. We've had a rather progressive relationship. I first acknowledged her, then I kicked her, tried to stifle her, moved on to ignore her, got placed right back next to her, and now I'm learning to converse with her. And you know what? She's not half bad. Sometimes it feels easy to blame this desire for movement, movement, movement on our society. I mean, we all know we have instant rice, store bought clothes, speed limits not meant to actually be heeded, and the divine rush of information via wireless internet. And, although this is the embryonic fluid I was birthed in, it is not entirely to blame. The impatience is in ME. I recognize it now that I live in community. who's calling? what's happening? where's the party? when can they come over? Deep are the circles under my eyes, wide are the yawns escaping my lips, and yet still I scurry and scramble to know what is new, what has changed. There is a contrast to this mindset which is found in this beautiful lyric written by my pastor: "Then my soul- in every strait- to Thy Father, come and wait...", and I just picture me running, panicked or anxious, trying to get an answer out of Jesus, and He just wants me to stay and wait. "Be STILL, and know that I am God..." It is only when I surrender my plans, my timeline, my schedule, ideas and goals, that I find the peace I believed would come in accomplishing all those things in the first place. And so, Patience and I have been rooming together. There are still times when I lock her in the room (such as today), but for the most part, she's becoming a rather calming, and a surprisingly settling, friend. "But let Patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."